Monday, August 27, 2018

Flamed Alcohol Inks on Glass Gems (Flat Marbles)

Decorating glass gems with alcohol ink has been one of my most popular projects over the last several years. They are so much fun to make and make wonderful little necklaces or magnets. But I've been on this kick with alcohol ink where I try new application methods and flaming the ink has been a ton of fun. I've tried it on several different glass and ceramic surfaces, so I decided to give it a try on the gems.

Honestly, I didn't think it would work very well. I grabbed some of my flawed gems from a batch I bought at Walmart to give it a try. If it didn't work, no big loss--the gems all had blotches or cracks in them. I laid them out on my alcohol ink flaming surface (a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil on top of a cork trivet) and dropped some ink on them and lit it on fire with a long handled lighter. To start, I just did a drop or two of alcohol ink. I didn't thin it with any rubbing alcohol since it was such a small area. the ink spread across most of the gem with this single fire-ing, so I was a bit worried I wouldn't be able to get any definition of other colors.

But I kept adding ink in small drops and flaming it as I went. I used a small paint brush to move ink from one drop to another (by dipping it into the ink on the gem and then dropping the tip onto anther area of the gem) and just flamed it as I went. When I finally got multiple colors coexisting without running into each other, I called it quits.

I was really surprised with how well they came out. In the end, these were an excellent proof of concept. I can't wait to make some more and turn them into necklaces!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Flamed Alcohol Ink Candle Holders: Bright Colors

I've been a bit addicted to setting alcohol ink on fire. Last month I tried my first set of candle holders and had so much fun that I thought I'd try some with more colors. So, when I went to Dollar Tree and saw the square candle holders, I knew their flat-ish sides would be a great choice for some flame inking.

I set up my work station with a Teflon craft mat to protect the table from heat and ink splashing. I then put a cork trivet under an old aluminum cookie sheet that I covered in foil. Then I filled a small container with some 91% rubbing alcohol and an eye dropper. Then I wiped off my candle holders with a paper towel that had a little rubbing alcohol on it and grabbed a lighter and some bright colored alcohol inks.

After I set out everything I needed, I cleared all of the alcohol based liquids away from my cookie sheet and dripped a bunch of ink on one of the sides of the candle holder. Then I squirted a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the ink and lit it on fire.

As you can see, it made a pretty decent sized flame. It also mixed a bit brown, so after the flame died down (be careful to watch the ink moving/drying--sometimes it's hard to see a flame but it's still burning) I added in dots of ink and flamed each one to minimize the mixing a bit.

After I felt pretty good about the coverage and mixture of ink, I waited for the glass to cool a bit and turned it to expose the next side. Quite a bit of ink dripped along the edge, so I didn't need to apply as much ink to cover the side.

Just like last time, I applied/dripped ink and sometimes rubbing alcohol and lit it on fire. I kept repeating the process until I liked the way it looked.

But as I continued the process, I rushed a bit and didn't let it cool down and dry enough between turning the sides. Also the rolled edges meant that ink was always dripping off the sides and not always getting flamed/fired....and the act of dripping and flaming the ink created some places where the ink was really sticky. So by the time the candle holder was sitting on the first side to get inked, it smeared together and turned dark brown/black.

Fortunately, alcohol ink on glass is really forgiving. I put a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and wiped off the part of the candle holder that had smeared and set it aside to dry.

So, I started up on the second one. It seemed to work pretty well to switch back and forth between candle holders to let the sides dry. I had one more side stick, but wiped it clean and re-inked both locations. If I had been more patient with dry times I wouldn't have had the problem...and the whole project probably would have taken a little less time.

When they were mostly complete, I set them upside down and wiped the ink off that had dripped onto the bottoms of the candle holders with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. It was less about getting the bottom sparkling clean than it was about removing any gummy ink so it wouldn't leave marks on the table.

These turned out really cool. Whenever you mix bright rainbows of colors you run the risk of them turning muddy and brown, so I knew there would be some color mixing that I had to be careful of. Watch out for blue/orange and red/green combos as they turn brown easily. I hadn't expected, though, all of the stickiness and dripping. They took longer than I was planning, but they still ended up being a success. Thank goodness the ink wipes off so easily!

I put some l.e.d. candles in these candle holders, but they should be safe for a real candle since the alcohol has all been burned out of the ink (but I have no idea how the color holds up to regular heat--it may fade). I opted not to seal these since they were decorative pieces. If you plan to handle your alcohol ink pieces or if they will be put someplace where they might encounter any sort of alcohol (hairspray, perfume, cocktails, etc...), they'll need to be sealed to keep the color from running (but if you plan to put real candles in your candle holders, be sure to use a heat safe sealant like clear engine enamel).

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to School Office Supply Craft Collection

It's that time of the year again....time to get excited about going back to school (or to buy office supplies on sale). Click here for the Collection: Office Supply Collection

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rubber Cement Resist with Alcohol Ink

If you've been to this blog before, you know I like to use alcohol inks in my crafts. I'm always searching for new ways to apply the ink and new things to ink. I've tried some hair brained ideas over the years that I hadn't seen any one else try yet just to see if they'd work (like using wax paper to apply alcohol ink) and they're always fun to try even if they don't work as you'd expect them to. So today's craft is another experiment with alcohol ink.

I bought some rubber cement when I saw it on sale with the school supplies. I had the idea that I could use it as a resist (sometimes folks use it as a poor man's masking fluid/frisket for watercolor paintings). I started out by trying to brush it on in a shape....but I knew that would be a real challenge (maybe it would work with a cardboard stencil, but just being brushed on wasn't going to work). So I wiped the glue off of the ceramic tile and started again.

This time I just dripped it on to the ceramic tile in stripes and drops. Once I liked the coverage and look of things, I set it aside for about an hour to set up.

After an hour, the glue was firm, but still tacky. I dripped some alcohol ink across the tile. I decided to go with two colors: Twilight Purple and Watermelon.

I squeezed the ink on and then used some canned air to blow the ink around. Then I applied a little more of the red and purple ink to fill in any remaining white spots on the tile. While finishing up the tile, I ran out of Twilight Purple. This was a bit of a milestone as an alcohol ink crafter as it is the first time I have run out of any color of alcohol ink. They last a really long time. The purple was clearly my favorite color. But, running out meant it left cool tiny dots of ink where I had squeezed out the last bits. Also, it took like 3 years to run out, so I can't complain too much.

I set the tile aside to dry for about 15 minutes while I was working on another project and came back to try to remove the glue. It was still pretty tacky and I was worried the ink wasn't completely set. I didn't want to rub any of the ink off while I removed the glue, so I let it dry overnight.

The next morning, I sat at the kitchen table and carefully pealed and rubbed the glue off. It was a little tedious, but the glue worked well as a resist, the ink didn't get underneath and the glue came off pretty well (albeit with a bit of rubbing).

The finished project turned out really neat. It certainly provided proof of concept. So now I have to come up with other cool ways to use this method of masking!

As always, if you try it out, tell me about it in the comments. If you plan on using your tile as a coaster or plan to handle it, be sure to seal it with some mod podge or other sealer.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Crafting Revisit: Galaxy Candle Stars

Earlier this year I got on a bit of a galaxy spray paint kick. I sprayed composition notebooks and chipboard boxes and some dollar store altar candles. The process was pretty simple--spray it black and then swipe stripes of other galaxy-ish and nebula-ish colors over the top. I was really satisfied with the way they turned out (hence the three different projects). But for some reason the candles always looked a bit flat to me. So I decided to add some stars.

I started out with my spray painted altar candles. I grabbed some tiny paint brushes and some craft paint and a paper plate. As I was assembling my supplies, I decided to go searching for nail-heads that would make good star-like dots.

I raided my stash of hardware supplies and tested out a round bamboo toothpick, several nails, and my two tiny paintbrushes. I ended up really liking the first few that I tested. The toothpick and a finishing nail made nice tiny little dots. The more you tapped the paint on the surface, the smaller the dots got.

I wasn't really sure how I was going to go about clustering my stars, so I just started dotting them on. If it was too uniform, it looked like polka dots, so I tried to keep the size and spacing random, but opted to create a diagonal stripe across the candle--sort of a belt of stars.

The process of dotting the stars took both hands, so I didn't take much for in process shots. When I was nearly finished, I made some tiny dots off in the distant blank areas and then set them aside for a few hours to dry.

The dot stars really jazzed up my candles and the process of using nail heads to create dots was a fun one I hadn't tried before. Now I just need to figure out what needs the starry sky treatment next!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Soft Aqua Wash Alcohol Ink Candle Plate

I've decorated a few of these mirrored candle plates from Dollar Tree in the past. I made one with flamed alcohol ink. I tried out stamping ink on the mirror, too. And I even tried out a regular drip and canned air blown ink method on my first mirrored plate. So I decided to try out a loose color wash method on the candle plate.

I got out my craft mat, a can of air, some alcohol inks, and a small container (finally found a use for the Oui yogurt container I had lying around) with 90% rubbing alcohol and a glass eye dropper.

I started out with a generous squeeze of some Clover ink on my mirror.

Then I put 3 or 4 big drops of rubbing alcohol on the plate to thin everything down and move the ink around.

I added some Turquoise and Stonewashed ink and moved it around with my can of air.

I kept adding ink and rubbing alcohol and moving the ink, around until I had the plate nearly covered. Then I added some Gold ink/mixative and mixed that around with the ink.

Then I added some drops and drips of Stonewashed to break up the very liquid washed out look of the rest of the pattern to finish the plate off.

The plate was very wet when I was finally satisfied with the look of things. I figured the ink would separate a bit while it was drying. I was surprised that it really didn't. It remained smooth and watery as it dried and I was left with this really beach-y ocean-y look that appears even more blurry in person because of the reflection from the mirror. It's a soothing and pretty look.

I was impressed and a little surprised by how this one turned out. I look forward to experimenting more with this very loose thinned down method of applying alcohol inks.